Marketing For Career Schools

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How For-Profit Schools Can Use PPC, TV, Print Advertising

For-profit schools can face tough marketing challenges. So many different avenues exist, from pay-per-click and targeted TV to traditional print and mall advertising. Because career schools recruit from a huge demographic range, it can be difficult to stand apart from the competition — especially when bigger schools are crowding advertising space thanks to larger budgets. There’s also the practical side of trying to reach segments that are traditionally known to have shorter or more specific attention spans (e.g., millennials). 

NCP College of Nursing doesn’t quite have the budget of national trade schools such as DeVry University or University of Phoenix. With two local campuses (South San Francisco and the East Bay), we created a highly targeted marketing campaign to meet the demands of a local for-profit school:


  • New Media: Our online strategy included pay-per-click and display campaigns with specific landing pages.
  • Broadcast: We created a TV spot and handled budgeting a TV media buy.
  • Print: We produced a print advertisement with placement in local newspapers.

As with most career schools, the call-to-action was for prospective students to follow up for more information. With this in mind, our marketing campaign projected a behavior flow of initial exposure (advertisement), further research (landing pages), and call to action (contact the school). Because of the for-profit  school’s budget and the competitive landscape, the path to success came from highly targeted advertising. Fortunately, with smart media buying and pay-per-click/lead generation strategies, NCP College of Nursing was able to see results while staying within their budget.

Whether it’s a for-profit school or a local small business, the goals are the same: identify a target, reach out to them, and generate a call to action. Of course, the details vary depending on industry, budget, etc., but NCP College of Nursing is just another example of how research and creativity can come together for a successful and cost-efficient career school marketing campaign across the media spectrum.

TV, pay-per-click, mall advertising…not sure which avenue is the best for your school? Contact Forward Push today to see how you can get the most out of your school’s marketing budget.

By Marc Apple


By Marc Apple

Marc Apple is recognized as a leader in the marketing industry and has 20+ years of experience helping businesses of all sizes improve their digital marketing. He specializes in website design, SEO, social media, and paid search programs. He is a frequent contributor to other marketing websites and speaks regularly about marketing to small business owners and startups. To learn about Marc and to contact him, visit his author bio page.


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